Favourites the All Blacks will have too much for their rivals once again
The eighth edition of the Rugby World Cup is almost upon us, as 20 teams go head-to-head to be crowned the greatest team on the planet. England hosts this year’s competition and with matches spanning from Newcastle in the north to Brighton on the south coast, the nation is set to be gripped by rugby union fever.
New Zealand arrive as the holders and the overwhelming favourites at 7/5 with Coral. They have lost a mere three times in 47 tests since lifting the Webb Ellis trophy aloft in 2011 and it is hard to see anyone releasing their grip on that famous gold trophy. The All Blacks have world class players coming out of their ears and when they play anywhere near their top level they cannot be beaten. However, their two rugby World Cup victories have been on home soil, not in Europe.
England play hosts here and a big performance will be expected of Stuart Lancaster’s men. After running in 18 tries in the Six Nations their attack looks potent but they did struggle at times in warm-up clashes with France. The home side are 5/1 with Boylesports to be crowned champions for a second time and their scrum is the best on the planet. Home advantage plays a huge part in this competition, with three of the seven hosts going on to win.
Joe Schmidt’s Ireland have won successive Six Nations titles and many see them as the best equipped of the European contingent. Their 8/1 free bet offer price with Ladbrokes is a good one for a team ranked number three in the world. They are a side heavily reliant on Johnny Sexton staying fit, but if he does no one will relish a contest with the Men in Green.
South Africa are one of only three nations to beat the holders since their success four years ago and are 13/2 to take the tile here with Betway. They have lost to Wales and Ireland in recent times but still find themselves second in the world rankings. A semi-final showdown with the Kiwis awaits, and their World Cup chances hang on that meeting.
Any team containing Israel Folau has a chance of scoring tries and if Australia get it right, they are a potent weapon. However, as their odds of 9/1 with PaddyPower suggest, they are not expected to be as potent as in previous tournaments. They won just six of 14 tests in 2014 and unless they can finish above England in their pool they will face South Africa in the last-eight.
Sam Warburton missed Wales’ game with Ireland last week and his fitness is crucial if Warren Gatland’s men are to stand a chance. If the skipper cannot put together a complete run of matches it’s hard to see them having an impact. They are 18/1 with Unibet to win the tournament but a Pool with England and Australia looks tough in itself.
Bookies.com’s betting tip – New Zealand win Rugby World Cup @ 7/5 with Coral